China’s first local health regulations - food tech news in asia

Recently, the 45th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Sixth Shenzhen Municipal People’s Congress voted to pass the “Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Health Regulations”, making it China’s first local health regulation which will be implemented on January 1st next year.

In terms of the protection of minors, the regulation clearly stipulates that the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors is prohibited. When it is difficult to determine the age, personal identity documents should be requested. Any violation of the regulation will result in a fine of 30,000 RMB (~US$4,500). Sellers of alcoholic beverages and carbonated beverages shall set up health damage alerts on the shelves or counters. If not, the market supervision and management department from the local government will give a warning and an order to make corrections within a time limit.

Carbonated beverages are drinks that include carbon dioxide dissolved in water, which is also called soda. At present, most carbonated drinks in the market tend to have high sugar content. In order to limit the high-sugar drinks and reduce the national risk of disease, the US implemented already similar practices of warnings regarding health risks. The law passed in San Francisco in 2015 requires beverage advertisements within the city to publish a clear warning related to soda and other sugary drinks that harm consumers’ health. In addition to warning slogans, many countries in the world have a ‘tax on sugary drinks’ to reduce sugar consumption.

The general standards for the Labeling of Prepackaged Alcoholic Beverages issued by the General Administration of Quality Supervision of China were officially implemented on October 1st, 2007. According to the standards, there should be health warnings on the package of the beverage, such as “Excessive consumption of alcohol is harmful to health” or “Do not drive after drinking”. However, it is the first time in China to establish clear regulations to indicate the health risks related to drinking carbonated beverages.

Besides prohibiting the sale of alcohol to minors, cigarettes were also included in this prohibition list. Food and drinks, such as fried chicken and bubble tea, are considered as having a negative impact on children’s health.

These health regulations encourage catering service operators and dining canteens to mark the calories and main nutrients of the food they provide and encourage food producers to produce low-salt, low-oil, and sugar-free food, with clear indications on the packages.

As China’s first local health regulations, it also clarifies that a vocation system should be implemented to better protect the physical and mental health of workers. Many Chinese netizens expressed support for the implementation of the regulations on the various social media platforms.

We will continue updating our readers on any significant new regulations related to food, beverage and the business related to this segment.

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